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Flash floods kill two, severely affect residents of Oudomxay

Two villagers were reportedly killed by flash flooding in the country's northern Oudomxay province and more households severely impacted as heavy rain lashed multiple districts over the weekend, a provincial senior official said yesterday.

A heavy downpour that began on Friday midnight and continued until Saturday morning caused a flash flood, paralysing transport in Xay district, the capital of the province.

Other districts affected by the floods included Nga and La districts, Director of Provincial Labour and Social Welfare Department, Mr Somfong Sengchanthala said.

“Xay district was most severely affected. It was the heaviest impact by such a flood in the nine years since 2009,” Mr Somfong told Vientiane Times .

Video clips and pictures posted on social media site Facebook showed the flash flood swelling the Mao River and overflowing onto roadways in the district.

Electric poles were seen destroyed and knocked down, roads cut off and damaged by floods that also inundated a petrol service station, houses and shops, facilities and farmlands.

Soldiers, rescue teams and authorities from various sectors are deployed for relief operations including cleaning up after the destruction and repairing public facilities.

"Almost all public facilities in Xay district, the electricity, roads and other facilities, have largely returned to their normal modes of operation," Mr Somfong said.

"It was a flash flood impacting because of the mountainous terrain. The flood just lasted for a short period."

The flash flood reportedly killed two people, the director said.

One was a resident of the province's Xay district and the other a resident of Nga district.

No further cases of injured or missing persons were reported so far, and information is being collected.

Those whose houses were severally affected have taken shelter with their relatives or are staying in temporary shelters prepared by the local authorities.

The value of property lost to the natural disaster is still unknown, but it will be revealed once information collection is complete.

Mr Somfong said it would take some time to collect the information as some communities affected by the flood in the province were located in hard-to-reach areas.

Though authorities are accelerating the repair of public facilities, the director admitted that road transportation was slow in some areas where repairs were not fully completed.

The mountainous-terrain Oudomxay province has been suffering from flooding incidents, notably in recent years.

In 2013, a storm-caused a flash flood and landslide killing 17 villagers, damaging houses, infrastructure, agricultural plots and killing livestock with losses estimated at almost 300 billion kip.

In addition to Oudomxay, several Lao provinces have also been suffering from storm-caused flooding with casualties and losses reported so far this year.

Last month, flash flooding claimed two lives in northern Xayaboury province.

Recent floods caused by heavy rains in Khamkeuth district of Borikhamxay province also killed a 16-year-old boy.

Associated floods damaged houses, buildings, facilities and inundated farmlands causing losses valued at billions of kip.



By Souksakhone Vaenkeo
(Latest Update August 7, 2017)

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